Wednesday, September 12, 2012

squatter librarians

In what appears to be a tactical shift since the British government made it a criminal act for squatters to take over derelict residential properties, squatters have occupied and re-opened the Friern Barnet library in North London, which had been closed by the local council. According to The Guardian, 270 local libraries around the country have been shuttered due to budget cuts. The Barnet council has said it wants to sell this library site to a developer. The squatters haven't said what they'll do if the council goes through with its plan, but the new squatter library opened to the public yesterday, and local residents, who have been fighting to keep the library open, seem quite happy with the take-over.

"One action is worth 1,000 words," said Mike Gee, who has collected 7000 signatures on a petition to keep the library open. "I fully endorse what the squatters have done but I am concerned about the situation. Does the council pay a librarian to do an honest day's work or does the council chief executive, who is on 10 times a librarian's salary, get volunteers to do the job for free?"